Reading the Fine Print: An Experimental Test of Campaign Finance Reforms
from 12:00 PM to 01:00 PM
There is an expectation among practitioners that advertising disclosures work to inform voters about who is speaking and, thus, whether they should trust the information in the advertisement. However, current disclosure regulations like McCain-Feingold may not perform as reformers expect. Using randomized experiments, I vary the campaign finance disclosure within ballot initiative advertisements to see how these disclosures affect respondents’ issue preferences. Without exception, I find that the most common form of campaign finance disclosure allows unknown political actors (e.g. Citizens United, Swift Boat Veterans for Truth) to be as persuasive as well-known credible interest groups. I discuss the results from my studies and the future of campaign finance reform.
Matt Lesenyie is a PhD Candidate in Political Science at the University of California, Davis. He received his undergraduate degree in political science from the University of California, Davis and his Master’s Degree from the University of Nevada, Reno.